LONDON (REUTERS) – Britain said only three of the 2,367 truck drivers tested so far on the Covid-19 were infected in an emergency test regime that began this week to reopen the border with France and allow thousands of stranded truckers to return home.
The discovery of a more contagious variant of the coronavirus in England has prompted many countries to close their borders to people traveling from Britain, resulting in miles of trucks lining up along one of the country’s most important trade routes.
An agreement reached with France on Tuesday allowed the border to reopen as long as passengers have proof of a negative test.
British Transport Minister Grant Shapps announced the first results of the test scheme and expressed outrage that some EU member states had ignored earlier advice from the European Union’s executive committee to reopen the border.
“As the EU Commissioner for Transport tweeted, it is not recommended to question the carrier,” he said.
“The days spent in the truck alone put you in the extremely low-risk category!”
It is expected that it will take days to clear the long lines of trucks, threatening to further disrupt supermarket stocks during the post-Christmas period.
Low virus rate among hauliers compared to data showing that every 85 people in England currently have the virus.
Infections were becoming more severe in London and in the east and southeast of the country, where a new variant of the virus was first identified.